Sunday, December 30, 2007

Doris & Jen's New Hood

After our long drive from Orange County, we made it to the home of Doris & Jen in the afternoon. This was our first time visiting them in their new house in Aptos, which is just outside Santa Cruz. Their home was so nice! (Not that we didn't think it would be).

The legendary cement ship in Aptos, CA. (12/30/2007)
The legendary cement ship in Aptos, CA. (12/30/2007)

The house is located on a charming street in the Seacliff neighborhood. The home is beautifully decorated with stunning wood floors, ample living area and lots of windows that fill the space with natural light. The neighborhood it was in had so much character. And only a short walk from the beach too!

The cement ship up close. (12/30/2007)
The cement ship up close. (12/30/2007)

One of the first things we did was walk to Seacliff State Beach, where we saw the famous Cement Ship that's permanently docked at the end of the pier. The ship dates back to 1919 when it was constructed for use during World War I. Originally known as the SS Palo Alto, the ship was built from reinforced concrete, a common method of shipbuilding in the early half of the century. As it turned out the war was over by the time the ship was finished.

The adorable Snow White drive-in is walking distance from their house. (12/30/2007)
The adorable Snow White drive-in is walking distance from their house. (12/30/2007)

In 1929, the Seacliff Amusement Corporation brought new life to the ship when the company permanently docked the ship to its present location. The idea was to use the ship for entertainment purposes. The company retrofitted the ship by adding a dance hall, dining room, arcade, even a swimming pool!

This cute convenience store is a short walk away. (12/30/2007)
This cute convenience store is a short walk away. (12/30/2007)

I guess the idea didn't go over so well, since the company went bankrupt two years later (I'm sure the Great Depression didn't help). To make it worse, the same year the ship also cracked in half! Ultimately it was abandoned where it primarily served as a fishing pier. A few years ago it was completely closed to the public. The only ones who use it now are the dozens of pelicans who use it as their hang-out.

Doris & Jon at Ciao Bella in Ben Lomond. (12/30/2007)
Doris & Jon at Ciao Bella in Ben Lomond. (12/30/2007)

After our brush with local history, we headed back to Doris and Jen's to clean up before dinner. Our restaurant destination was Ciao Bella, a quirky Italian restaurant in the town of Ben Lomond, California. This was our second time there, having eaten there on our last Santa Cruz trip.

Blondie entertains us while we enjoy our dinner. (12/30/2007)
Blondie entertains us while we enjoy our dinner. (12/30/2007)

As it was last time, the restaurant was a riot! The place is decorated in high thrift-store chic, with vinyl LP albums on the walls and an assortment of street signs, piñatas, and just about anything else you can think of. Our waiter was a friendly guy named Jewly, and his young assistant Blondie, who managed to step onstage every now and then to entertain us with dancing and/or singing.

Doris and Jen pose with Jewly, our waiter. (12/30/2007)
Doris and Jen pose with Jewly, our waiter. (12/30/2007)

Between the walk to the historic beach, and the unforgettable evening at Ciao Bella, it was definitely a day to remember!

3 comments:

beastandbean said...

Whoa...those are some pretty cool snaps of the cement ship, dude! I didn't know any of that history before either, so, good on you, mate!

Very informative!

Doris said...

Thanks for the great description of our 'hood. Now I can forward this to everyone who hasn't yet had a chance to visit. :-) Your pictures of the ship turned out really well.

Ginger said...

I looooove the Snow White Drive In. When I was little (well, "young"), my family would always stop there on our way back from spending the day at Seacliff beach to get a chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream cone - yum! And, the drive in just recently fixed up their cool retro sign within the past few months.

My church/work is right across the street from that 76 station, which is next to Snow White. I'm sure you saw the long wall, driveway and building on your left as you got off of the freeway. Sometimes I walk down to the beach after work - it's nice to be that close. I can work off the ice cream cone AND the cheeseburger from lunch!
;-)